Wow! We have been so behind on documenting our adventure on the blog! We spent a wonderful month in Barcelona and are eager to share our stories and photos with you, but have been so busy we are now playing catch up!
At the moment, we are back home in Richmond, VA for a friend’s wedding and have had a whirlwind 2 weeks at home. We are so sorry for anyone we couldn’t find time to catch up with but our trip home has been insane. After a 25 hour travel day, we got back to Richmond and had one amazing peaceful day reconnecting with our family. Afterwards, we had three days of work, four days of Maryland Traveling for Rachel, four days of Alabama Traveling for Brad, four more days of work and then wedding festivities all this weekend. It has flown by with barely time to breathe but it has been nice to reconnect with the conveniences and familiarities of the United States.
For a while though, let’s go Back to Barcelona!
When you think Barcelona, you think GAUDI! If you read my last blog post about the Sagrada Familia, you got a nice feel for Gaudi’s work and his “outside-of-the-box” thinking. Barcelona is shaped by the many Gaudi-designed buildings scattered throughout the city, but our favorite to visit was called Park Guell!
Around 1900, Antoni Gaudi was commissioned by a local real estate developer to help him create an exclusive and affluent neighborhood. Like his other works, Gaudi used this projects to explore the shapes and feelings of nature. The retaining walls below are a great example. Instead of just building an ugly retaining wall, Gaudi wanted these to remind the viewer of waves in the ocean. They are so fun to walk around and under and are so beautiful you would never know they were built for structural purposes.
Gaudi built a model home and the amenities of the neighborhood (park system, walkways, overlook benches, etc) but only two houses in the development ever sold. The project was scrapped and the luxury estate in the making was turned into a public park in 1926. Their failed venture is our gain because it is a truly unique spot and so fun to visit.
The Crown Jewel of Park Guell is located in the “Monumental Zone.” Gaudi designed these wave like benches and covered them in colorful mosaic tiling. They protrude over the retaining wall below and leave you with a breathtaking view of the city of Barcelona. This is the coveted spot to get the iconic BCN feel.
We bought tickets for the earliest timeslot available, 8am, and caught a 6:30 bus to make sure we were there first. How else could we guarantee pictures of this iconic spot without a ton of other people in them? Little tip- there are other people who have the same thought 😉 There were about 20 people in the Monumental Zone when we arrive at 7:40 but luckily they were dispersed enough that we could get our shot with our trusty tripod and remote. 20 people is nothing compared to the usual 400 PEOPLE PER HOUR TIMESLOT! Yeah- if you want a picture alone, you better go first thing in the morning! (Psst- it’s worth it!)
The benches are so unique and so beautiful- get ready for photo overload! I couldn’t help myself!
Just down the stairs from the benches is the other “Iconic” Gaudi piece. THE LIZARD. The lizard has become a virtual symbol of the city of Barcelona. We were excited to find it and sneak some photos between other tourists’ shots!
The other buildings on the property are of similar unique and tiled styles. One houses a gift shop, one is a guard house, etc. They are interesting to see since you already paid the entrance fee, but nothing to write home about. The general feeling, colors, and shapes of Park Guell are what make it so unique and appealing, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting! The only downside is that it’s quite far out of town and you need to take a bus or metro there (the walk was an hour and a half from our house, so we bussed.)
That’s all for now, but I will leave you with one final story. On our way out of Park Guell, we stopped and had a drink of water. I am handing the water bottle to Brad when a huge Magpie (bird, google it) flies right into my head! Talons first, I had scratches on my scalp and thought I was badly cut. I was fine, but screamed and hit the ground. The dummy bird smacked right into me and virtually knocked me over. When I dropped to the ground, he regained his composure, looked around startled, and then flew away. It was so odd and seriously disturbing. I didn’t love it lol. So weird.
Adios por ahora!